Tag Archives: Books

The Sound of Silence

I’m aware I’ve been quieter than usual. Which is really quiet, because I’ve been pretty absent from here lately. My brain has been a completely different story, though. I kinda wish my brain would shut up, because it’s really good at blabbing and chatting and screaming at me until I think, “Brain, I’m mad. Be quiet.” And Brain is all, “MAKE ME.” And then I sigh and try to find various ways to make it shut up. They don’t usually work. If they do work, they’re self-destructive.

But Brain is happier when I’m staying organized and on track and mindful of my thoughts/feelings/habits. That has been my goal these last few weeks. Re-organizing. Committing to meeting my goals and making plans for how I will get there.

My weekly plan comes out in Bullet Journal form, and I like it. It looks like a lot of work to some people, but for me, the work is soothing. I enjoy having some time to just mindlessly draw lines and dots, time where I’m just following my own template to make my days better and more structured. I need structure, and I guess this is just a visual representation of it all.

Last week, I finished Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. It was such a moving account of mental illness and all the ways it can rock you in your heart and guts and brain. Some things were so well-described that I physically began reacting to them and feeling old feelings. Probably not super helpful for someone currently going through tough times with anxiety/depression and wanting to avoid triggers. I think it would be fantastic for someone trying to understand, though. It has a hopeful message, and we all need that.

Now I’m working on This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, and I’m hooked. Lots of good stuff sitting in my TBR pile right now, too. Eeek. Never enough hours in the day for books.

Other than that, I’m just working hard to get myself back on that proverbial horse again. This morning’s run was super-humid, which I should probably force myself to adjust to. But I don’t like humidity at all, and it just feels like a punishment when you make the effort to wake at 5:00 AM only to be hit in the face with bathwater when you go outside.

The flowers blooming in our yard, though, provided a pretty end to a very sweaty run.

Here’s to a not-too-sweaty, happy week for all of us!

SHOP

 

 

 

 

P.S. Obligatory goofy kid/goofy dog pictures.

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Just because.

Well. I’ve been absent again. It has been a long week, and I honestly haven’t even known what to write about. So I didn’t.

Except that I kinda did. Thank you so very much to the Minneapolis Running folks again for publishing another article of mine. I was able to tackle a tough subject that comes up frequently on my blog: mental health. I hope you enjoy it and find some use from it, even if you don’t have issues with your mental health.

ALSO! The next day, they hosted a live video with none other than Sarah Bowen Shea, who is honestly one of my very favorite people ever. I constantly rave over Another Mother Runner, so if you haven’t checked them out by now…honestly, what are you waiting for?

So now: let’s have a conversation and catch up a little. How have you been? How’s the fam?

Fine, thanks. Whatcha been eating lately?

I’ve really been continuing the effort to meal plan and prepare ahead of time. It makes my life sooooo much less stressful. We’ve tried several new recipes these past few weeks, and there have been hits and misses.

Quinoa goes over well with my kiddo and husband. Especially in more Mexican-centric dishes. Or cheesy. Stuffed pepper soup was my favorite. The creamy avocado pesto pasta above? Big fail. And not even good for leftovers, because I am not a fan of  the color/flavor of avocado when it’s more than a few minutes old.

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I also jumped into the world of Shakeology. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it or have at least heard about it/read about it in your Facebook newsfeed. I’d been on the fence for quite sometime, because I try not to get too caught up in anything that is associated with MLM. But after forgetting to make breakfast for myself several days in a row, it seemed like something to at least try.

So far, I’m not disappointed one bit. It’s quick. I have a billion recipes to try, and I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried so far (including birthday cake, Kit Kat, sunshine creamsicle, and peanut butter cup). And it keeps me FULL. Fuller than I thought possible with a shake. I’ll continue to try this month and see how it goes, but it is a luxury that makes my mornings easier so far. Some days, I need all the help I can get.

Great. What have you been up to?

Not running. Oops, am I supposed to admit that? I ran a couple times last week. This week? Nada. Hubby is out of town for the whole week on a work trip, and I’ve been hopping. It is our last week of dance before summer, and it includes dance rehearsals and two recitals this weekend. Throw in an out-of-town work conference, two cats & one dog, and a kid with mood swings worse than a Sourpatch Kid? I’m fried. My house is a war-zone. I’m basically throwing kibble on the floor for all the critters to consume. I may have even bathed LJ with a few baby wipes at one point this week. (Don’t worry. She got a bath the next night.)

I literally found a plate of LJ’s dinner turned over on the living room floor last night. It had dried and crusted to the plate by the time it was flipped over, though, so the carpet was completely unscathed. An embarrassing sort of victory.

As for last weekend, Mother’s Day was…good. I am blessed to be a mom. I am blessed to have so many lovely women in my life and my daughter’s life. But it also is a day filled with inner-turmoil for me and for others, I know. For me, I have a fractured relationship with the person I most want to celebrate. I love her so very much, and I miss her. I hope things can be better some day, but that doesn’t make Mother’s Day less painful now.

The other person I want to celebrate with is my grandmother, whom I’ve written about in the past. She meant and still means so much to me, so LJ and I made a trip to visit her and Grandpa’s burial site. We talked with them, and LJ gave them many hugs and kisses. We brought flowers and thanked Grandma for being wonderful. We had conversations about life and death, and I was honest with LJ, even when it was painful for me and confusing for her. I won’t hide my grief, because I want her to know how amazing her great-grandma was.

Because hubby left the day before Mother’s Day, he and LJ both found ways to make me feel loved that weekend. They sent flowers to me at work on Saturday, and LJ slept in until 9:00 Sunday morning. What a darling.

What are you reading?

Oh, boy. I’ve got a gigantic TBR list, and I realized how far behind I am on my reading goal for the year. So I’ve been cruising through the chapters these last few days. I just finished a wonderful/tragic graphic novel called Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss. Highly recommended, but it will pull at your heart. This is a bleak one, but it captures the reality some people face when their loved one is faced with terminal illness.

I’m in the process of tackling Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a short read but I’m taking a little extra time to digest each “chapter.”

Also in line to finish up Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig soon.

Okay, great. Anything else?

I’m running the TC 10 Mile, thanks to the Mother Runner crew! I’m soooooo excited, because this was one of my favorite races ever. So I’m back in training-planning mode with a renewed energy. I’ll reach my goals someday, and this was a big boost.

Also, this is my workplace, and I love it. Especially when the sky is shiny happy:

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This post ended up being much longer than anticipated. Hopefully I learn to break it up a little bit in the future, but you know how I operate…silence and then surprise.

SHOP

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2/10/17: Biblio-Friday

Haaaappppyyyy Friday! How was your week, my dear little bookworms? I’m glad to be heading into the weekend, and we’ve got a Valentine’s Day 5k coming up tomorrow. Not sure if hubby will be so into it, because he was hit with “the crud” after I was. And he hasn’t been able to recover/get any runs in. We’ll take it easy.

So I’m super excited to have signed up for a website called Blogging for Books. Last week, I received my first request: Besties by Leah Reena Goren.

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Srsly. How sweet is that cover?

Besties is a whimsically illustrated ode to, you guessed it, best friends. It tells the many ways that two best girlfriends stay close over the years, all the way from mundane nights in to memorable once-in-a-lifetime vacations or nights out. It’s short, sweet, and a little bit quirky.

I first saw this book when I was shopping for Christmas presents a few months ago. I was very attracted to the cover and the playful illustrations. I considered getting it for my besties, but I passed simply due to finding other titles that fit their hobbies and interests.

Although I do think this book is a sweet dedication to best friends, I’m sort of glad I passed on it. It’s fun for a look-through, but I felt it told a story that was fairly specific to Goren and her own best friend. A lot of the details were too particular, and I know they didn’t apply to my besties and me. I found myself wanting the story to be a little more generic, since I assume the author was aiming to encompass a broad group of experiences and relationships for many women.

It was also a bit sugary-sweet for me. Maybe my besties and I have a slightly grittier relationship, but we occasionally have a tiff or disagreement. And we’re a lot grosser than Goren and her bestie seem to be. That happens when you’re in a long-term bestie-relationship. You deal with the pretty and not-so-pretty realities of life.

Ultimately, I enjoyed reading this, because it did remind me of many silly and heart-warming memories I have with my besties. And I’m happy to read about Goren’s lovely friendship, too. Not to mention she has some wonderful design/illustration skills. seriously lovely. I’d recommend this as a light read to those who have strong female friendships in their lives. It will most certainly make them reflect on the appreciation and love they have for their besties.

All right. That’s what I’ve got for today. Aiming for a Sorta-Silent-Saturday post tomorrow and a race recap next week. (Though I’m not sure I’d consider this “racing” by any means.)

Enjoy your weekends!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie
(Full disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.)

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1/21/17: Sorta Silent Saturday – Picture Dump Edition

Careful for your dial-up internets (JK), because this post is picture HEAVY! Gotta get my vacation photos out there somewhere. If you’re looking for captions, you may or may not have to hover over the photos.

Here we go!

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Bye, L.A.!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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1/11/17: Whatever Wednesday

As of 6:30 PM tonight, I am on vacation. Technically, I finished work at 5:00, but Dino-kid had dance class tonight. And going to dance class, although only a half hour long, is a feat in and of itself. It is work. Wonderful work, but work nonetheless.

I don’t know if I feel like I’m on vacation yet, but I think it is sorely needed. I love my job. I love my life. But it’s probably time for a breather. I’m still feeling pretty lousy about my ankle sprain, and I just.want.to.run. But I don’t run, and then I sabotage pretty much everything. It’s a vicious cycle, and I’ve got to change it.

For my Wednesday round-up of whatever, I’m focusing on being kind to myself. So I was pleased to see this article in my inbox from Minneapolis Running. (Lots of hearts for MPLS Running, btw.) How to overcome a setback. I think that verbiage is important. Get control, have a plan, gain perspective. And lots of good stuff in between.

This is a good reminder of why we should take care of ourselves.

Aaaand, I made some awesome purchases recently, and they all arrived in the mail today.

Two of them were apparel. A TeeTurtle shirt with my fave lady. And an amazingly comfortable SparkleSkirt. Can’t wait to get running and represent HRC.

Tough to get a good picture that didn’t include toddler elbows and such, but I tried. I’ll have better ones in the future.

Okay. Like I said. Vacation. Hoping to update the ol’ blog during California time, but if doesn’t, I’m sure you’ll understand. And you probably won’t even notice I’m gone. 😉

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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1/6/17: Biblio-Friday

So I’m trying something new today. In celebrating the intended spirit of bookish-ness that I wanted this blog to have, I want to focus on books, libraries, or the literary world in general for at least one segment a week. Let’s see how it goes!

Books!

What are your reading goals this year? I’ve already mentioned I want to read 50 pages per day. (Day 6 of the year, and I’m going strong!) Hopefully that will end up being enough to read 50 books, as that’s what I’ve set for my GoodReads challenge.

Just finished up The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom for my monthly book club. I read it in just a few days, because it was intricate, captivating, and brilliantly written. The characters were written with honesty and believability, and you couldn’t help but love the lovable ones and hate the hateable ones. Highly recommended.

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My current TBR pile from the library…I might have a problem. And I also might not care too much if I have a problem.

These past few days, I’ve been working on If at Birth, You Don’t Succeed by Zach Anner. Have you seen Zach Anner before? You may remember him from his various shows/projects. If you don’t remember him, you should check him out. Hilarious and smart and well-spoken. I can hear his voice come through when I read the book, and it’s a nice light read about sometimes-kinda-heavy topics.

Libraries!

As someone who struggles with seasonal changes, I am highly interested to see that the Lawrence Public Library is offering light therapy for their patrons suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I kinda love it, and I wish I could try it out! I was surprised at the low-ish cost of the lamps, too.

More Bookish-ness!

Anyone a member of the Hogwarts Running Club? After being a lurker for awhile, I’ve really started to enjoy getting involved. Anywho, they announced their first virtual race of the year: the Mad Eye Moody 5k. Look at that medal! And what a great cause. #somuchgood

Aaaaannnnddd…I may have a SparkleSkirt on the way to me soon. Eeeee! When you mix running and reading, well, you know I’m gonna geek out.

Have a lovely weekend, my special snowflakes!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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1/1/17: New

Tonight, I spent the evening playing board games with Mini-Me and hubby. And then after the Mini went to bed, hubby and I had a much needed Nerf gun fight. Although this may not sound like the most riveting New Year’s evening to some, I am content. As hubby and I watched some live broadcast of Time’s Square, I described it as a “living nightmare” in my world. (Bright lights. TOO MANY people. Stuck. Terrible.)

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RIP Chewbacca. Sorry you got caught in the middle.

I’m fine being in my own house, and I’m even impressed we made it past midnight. In fact, it’s 1:18 AM as I type this.  We are party animals.

As promised, I have some of my New Year focuses (foci?) ready to blog. I’m not committing to super-specific goals. Just things I want to keep in mind this year to make my life and the lives of those around me better.

There are seventeen, because 2017. So brace yourselves. This is going to be a long ride (and I totally won’t judge you if you skip all of this).

  1. Hydrate/Track – Keep on top of my water intake, and keep an honest food journal.
  2. Yoga/Meditation – This is something that has benefitted me in the past year, and I really need to enhance it.
  3. Read 50 pages per day – When I read, it means I’m not spending time on mindless activities, like scrolling through my cousin’s dentist’s mother-in-law’s photo album from 2008. And I also really like to read, and I want to read more. Duh.
  4. Blog more – I like this thing! I like documenting my journey. For me and maybe for anyone I might inspire even a little?
  5. Sleep 7+ hours per night – I mean…pretty self explanatory.
  6. Eat with intention – Because it’s too easy and dangerous to eat mindlessly or emotionally
  7. Run – 750+ miles. And complete my first half-marathon. I’m not letting this darn ankle get me down.
  8. Pay bills when they come in – Heard this tip from my step-mother-in-law (Hi, Polly, if you’re reading!). I love this idea, and I’ve already paid off both my credit cards BEFORE Christmas. So much less stress than waiting until the due date.
  9. Be on top of cleaning the damn house – Because it’s much easier to spend 10 minutes a day on this than hours during the weekend
  10. Stop eating by 8:00 P.M. – I’ve done this in the past, and it WORKS.
  11. Devices down when mini-me is awake – Another fairly self-explanatory one
  12. #RelationshipGoals – Monthly date night with the hubby? I think yes. It’s easy to forget about this when you have a screaming demon toddler highly enthusiastic and spunky child in the house.
  13. Stay in tune with friends/family – This should always be a priority, but I have a hard time getting outside of my own head some days.
  14. Make people feel special – Each Christmas, I’m reminded of how wonderful it feels to give gifts and let people know I think of them/value them/love them dearly. I want to find ways to do this all year long.
  15. Be a strong example – Because Mini-Me deserves it.
  16. Work hard and work well – I am SO blessed to have the job I have. And I want to be good at it and give back.
  17. Spend wisely – Again, something I should do all the time, but it’s easy to get carried away. I’d rather give more than I get.

So there you have it. No particular order. Unedited. Unfiltered. But that’s what I aim for on this lil’ blog. Honesty and openness.

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What are YOU going to focus on this year?

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

P.S. The following picture is Mini-Me yesterday. And probably me tomorrow.

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12/12/16: Manic Monday

Where did that weekend go? I feel like I did a lot…and still didn’t get a lot done.

The dreaded conjunctivitis is still in my eyeballs, and I’m fairly certain that is due to the fact that my cold is just sitting in my sinuses right now. I’m ready for it to be done, though. Dayquil takes the edge off, and I’m not barfy-gross like I was last week. So this is fine.

I still didn’t want to risk an outdoors run this morning, though, since it was -12 with windchill. So on ye ole treadmill I went. I was all prepared to bundle and head out the door, but it just…didn’t seem like a good idea. Ugh. Tried to get some “treadhill” work in and up the incline every now and again. I was over it by 3 miles, though. The rest of this week looks to be just as cold. Ugh.

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The frosty view from my porch this morning, where I was trying to cool off from my treadmill run.

I’m all about keeping on top of things during the holiday season. So I’ve been perusing lots of recipes and cookbooks to get ideas for healthy, nourishing meals along with a few indulgences.

I read Run Fast. Eat Slow. and fell in love with it. Seriously, do yourself a favor and check this one out from the library or purchase it from your local bookstore. So much goodness, and I can’t wait to try several of the recipes.

I also look for little ways to modify that help keep those extra holiday pounds at bay. Loving this round-up of healthier holiday cookie recipes, and hoping to try some over the next couple of weeks!

Other than that, we’re just taking everything day by day. And having lots of holiday adventures, including finding our elf on the shelf, Bernice. Even she has to resort to spending some time on the treadmill now and again.

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“Mom, look! I’m an elf on the treadmill, too!”

Keep at it, chickadees. Enjoy your day and make some memories.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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11/30/16: Whatever Wednesday

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of a weekend spent with family and friends, and that’s just a preview of the next month. I adore this time of year, but I’m already tired and overbooking myself.

This time of year is also painful for many, and I will add myself in there. Thanksgiving is the last day I heard my grandmother, someone I considered my “partner in crime” from a young age, say “I love you” to me. She was in hospice, and as I prepared to leave, I told her I loved her. She whispered slowly and strained, “Love you, too.” And her voice will stick with me forever. She passed peacefully on December 6th.

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I know others are in their own kinds of pain, and I hope you are able to find some joy in each day. Sometimes, it’s just about survival. And I know part of my survival comes through running. I have been seeing lots of posts on staying accountable through the holidays, and paying close attention to that helps me. I particularly like this post from No Meat Athlete. Good tips for athletes and non-athletes alike.

I also find solace in books. It’s a good way for me to escape for a bit and focus on something not-in-my-head. What am I digging lately? In the past few weeks: Faithful by Alice Hoffman, You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein, and It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny. Also a shout-out to the new podcast Nora is hosting, Terrible, Thanks for Asking. And her new child, Stormtrooper Luckycharm. Because that is epic. I’m a quiet admirer of all she has done.

And obviously, check your local library or bookstore for these items. (I’m totally guilty of Amazon-ing a lot, though, so I totally get it if you do, too.)

Also, books are awesome, and these quotes remind me of that. Save ’em for a day you’re feeling a little lost.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for today. Later, friends!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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11/21/16: Manic Monday

Anyone else feeling a little edgy today? Since this week kicks off the official holiday season, I guess I’m feeling a little stressed. I just ate my feelings in the form of half a cookie, and then I stopped myself. Gotta nip that behavior in the bud and deal with my feelings in less destructive ways.

Speaking of emotions and such, lots of studies/discussion over the effect running and exercise can have on stress and depression. I’ve known for a long time that running in particular is incredibly helpful for me when it comes to keeping the demons at bay, but it’s nice to see that this idea is being put into the mainstream.

See: New York Times and Women’s Running.

First week of AMR Stride into the Holidays was pretty fun! I love the sense of community that goes with this. I did have to delay my long run from Saturday (20+ MPH winds plus really dark when I would have had to go) to Sunday (1 MPH winds plus sunlight when I was able to go). SO happy I did. Did 8 miles in the crisp near-winter air, but it was lovely. I’m so lucky I have time and support when it comes to running. And that my own two legs can carry me further than I ever believed.

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I’ve also been cruising through books recently, and I figure I should start getting some more reviews/updates on what I’m reading. I think I have that on the back burner right now and ready to move it to the forefront of my writing soon.

Alright, buckle up, party people. The holiday season is just getting in gear, and it’s gonna be a quick ride.

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Random November puddle-jumping picture for good measure.

See you in the next day or two!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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